It's not just electricity shortage that irks city power managers during summer; kite flying has also been causing outages, keeping them on their toes. The culprit is the ‘Maanja' string that gets entangled with the transmission lines causing power disruptions.
Every year between April and May, officials of the state power utility approach the police requesting them to keep a tab on kite flying. Despite several warnings, children and teenagers continue with the form of entertainment forcing officials to patrol their respective localities.
The State power utility – Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) and Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation (TANTRANSCO) – has requested the public to refrain from flying kites near extra high tension tower lines. “The outages are caused when the ‘maanja' is damp. Once they come in contact with a live wire, they cause tripping leading to power cuts. It does not just cause an outage alone, but can also prove dangerous to the lives of the boys who attempt to bring the kite down,” said a TANTRANSCO official. Usually the problem occurs in 230 Kilo Volt (KV) and 110 KV high tension lines. “The problem occurs mainly in North Chennai and that too in Tondiarpet. This is because the locality has lots of overhead cables,” said the official.
In March 2008, the TNEB appealed to the public not to fly kites. This was following a power interruption that lasted for nearly an hour in Poonamallee, Valasaravakkam and Virugambakkam which was triggered after a kite string got entangled in a 110-KV transmission line from Sriperumbudur to Korattur and a circuit from Sriperumbudur to Porur.
The police are also concerned about the issue. “Policemen ask people to abstain from flying kites using ‘Maanja'. Strict action is taken against those who still fly them without bothering about our warning,” said R. Kannappan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Washermanpet police district.